Revisiting the Electric Car in Light of Peak Oil Crisis

Editor of Peak Oil Review concludes that the quicker we build the necessary recharging infrastructure and start getting ourselves into electric vehicles, the better our future prospects.

Published: 04-Feb-2010

By Tom Whipple

Last week the US Secretary of Energy loaned Nissan motors $1.4 billion to convert an existing Nissan plant in Tennessee to build electric cars. According to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, no less than 25 models of electric cars are being readied for sale in the next few years - most by major manufacturers.

Although the current crop of hybrids certainly runs some of the time on electric motors, the future of electric vehicles are those that plug into the grid and get all, or at least much, of their energy from this source. There is no question that electric vehicles are intrinsically superior to the current combustion engines that have dominated personal transport for the last century. They don't use any, or not as much, petroleum-based fuels. They use energy much more efficiently. They have no emissions. Their performance is as good or better than the internal combustion car, and they are much simpler to maintain. Most places in the developed world already have robust or at least an adequate electrical distribution system for the beginning of the electric age. The last 100 feet to the car, however, will be an expensive-to-overcome problem for many.

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The range limitations of most early electric cars will matter less in tightly packed urban areas, where the daily driving distance is likely to be much shorter than in the suburbs or rural areas.

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